Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud (2007)

Pumpkinhead 4: Blood Feud (2007)

Vengeance Will Be His

The blood feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys has raged for decades but things take a turn for the worst when Jodie Hatfield falls in love with Ricky McCoy. Jodie’s brothers take exception to this and their attempts to split the pair up lead to the accidental death of Ricky’s younger sister. Sworn to vengeance, Ricky summons Pumpkinhead to avenge his sister’s death by wiping out the Hatfield’s for good.

 

Romeo and Juliet with a big ass killer demon standing in the way is the best way to sum up this third sequel to Pumpkinhead as once again the creature is called forth to wreak vengeance upon the world. Marginally more entertaining than the previous sequel, Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud is surprisingly decent with solid production values, less of the CGI that tarnished the previous film and more gore and entrails. I also believe that the Sci-Fi Channel has been behind these last two sequels so it’s no shock to learn that it was shot in Romania with an almost entirely foreign cast and crew. And no matter who is making these films now, the only reason that Pumpkinhead comes back is to avenge someone so don’t expect to see originality in the story. Sticking to the formula doesn’t allow for a lot of scope in these films so I was a bit disappointed to see that the writers hadn’t had the guts (or ability) to try something new.

Lance Henriksen is brought back from the dead once again as Ed Harley (the guy who originally called for Pumpkinhead in the original and who is to be trapped between worlds forever as his punishment). If ever there was less of a reason for a character from a previous film to return other than to put a recognisable name on the cover box, it’s this guy. He just moans on to people about calling Pumpkinhead and giving them a warning not to end up like he did but no one listens to him. He only appears on screen when there is nothing else is happening! The role must have taken all of an hour to film and it’s a pity because Henriksen is a talented character actor when given something to work with  (I couldn’t believe my eyes when he popped up in the modern western Appaloosa and as a bad guy no less – that’s the sort of thing he needs to do more of!).

As for the rest of the cast, there’s not an awful lot to comment on. Amy Manson clearly struggles with her Southern accent and her broad English pops out at every opportunity. Rob Freeman, as the sheriff, was particularly lame in his delivery. And I don’t know what kind of families both the Hatfields and McCoys are supposed to be because, apart from the few main characters who speak, the rest of the brothers and cousins are clearly Romanian and some even look like they have been dubbed. Unfortunately the human side is the film’s main weakness. It’s supposed to be character-driven with the love story but it drags hard when Pumpkinhead isn’t around. The bad acting and the shifty-looking cast here would clearly be more at home in Borat or some pro-Communist propaganda video. At least the previous film had the interesting and always-reliable Doug Bradley scheming and plotting to get away.

Pumpkinhead looks pretty awesome though. In all honesty, I think it’s one of the better-treat monsters floating around as, in all three previous films, Pumpkinhead has looked solid in its suit and make-up form. The problem in the last film was that Pumpkinhead had to do a lot than just walk around – it climbed buildings and the like and so needed to be turned in a CGI monster during these scenes. The eventual CGI was rubbish. The special effects team keep Pumpkinhead grounded for the most part in this one so most of the shots of it are of the man-in-a-suit variety. It works so much better this way and kudos to whoever decided to keep the monster this way instead of taking the easy way out and having it completely CGI. It’s not heard of in this day and age! The gore effects are also solid with a variety of deaths including one dude who tries to cut his leg off to get away from the monster and another one who falls head-first into a bear trap.

Both the Hatfields and McCoys are big families too so expect to see a high body count. Once Pumpkinhead gets going, it doesn’t matter whether you have or haven’t done anything wrong – you’re just screwed! The death scenes do get repetitive though, especially in the finale as wave after wave of brothers, cousins and uncles attempt to kill Pumpkinhead with their shotguns. If you saw that four of your brothers had fired a couple of rounds into a monster with no effect whatsoever and then been horribly eviscerated and diced into oblivion, would you go and try the same thing?

 

Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud is a decent timewaster at best which works well as part of a straight-to-DVD series and nothing more. I honestly believe that Pumpkinhead is wasted in these flicks though. Stan Winston created such an awesome creature but he couldn’t match it with a solid film to back it up with the original and it’s been languishing in cult hell since! It’s not going to get any big budget reworking soon as they’re making Pumpkinhead V now.

 

 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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